After a month at sea, coming across these islands feels like a miracle. It’s as if we went to sleep and began dreaming, but they are true and real!
Eight of the islands in the chain are volcanic in origin, and they are really just the peaks of massive underwater volcanoes that just managed to break the surface a few times. The slope of the mountain continues underwater unchanged, making them very deep, just off the coast. When we approached the islands, it was 16,000 feet deep, the it dropped to a mere 4,000 to 6,000 feet deep within the island chain. As you approach the islands themselves, the bottom will rise up and be only a few hundred feet deep as you enter the harbors.
The bottoms are just as treacherous to anchor on as they are deep! Since all the islands are formed from volcanoes and lava flows, the surrounding sea bed is comprised of large boulders and rocks. Anchoring with anything is questionable, and a fisherman’s anchor seems like the best choice; although not a wise one!
Entering these magical dream lands is best done by entering the marinas and paying an unnaturally small fee. We are used to paying around $90 per night to tie up our 45 foot sailboat, but in the Azores, a slip cost us a mere €24 per night!
Once you come ashore, you are greeted by the most kind of peoples, further propagating your fanciful ideas that you are still dreaming, only to discover that everything in the Azores is inexplicably inexpensive. My wife and I would get breakfast for under €6, dinner for under €14. Fancy coffees cost €0.85 instead of $7 at Starbucks.
The Azores truly are a dreamland and have made it feel as if we have never awoken from the dream of sailing across the Atlantic.